2019 European Gran Fondo Champion Vincenzo Pisani tested positive for the banned substance Recombinant Erythropoietin (EPO) following an out-of-competition test performed by the Italian National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO) on 25 June 2021.
Pending the outcome of a hearing, the 40 year-old Pisani (ASD CAPITANI MINUTERIE METALLICHE) has been suspended from competition, but commented, “I am innocent. I have already asked for a counter analysis and I am sure the truth will come out.”
Pisani is the 2019 UEC European Gran Fondo Champion and recently won Gran Fondo Gavia and Motirolo on 27 June (two days after he was tested by NADO), as well as finishing second at one of the world’s biggest gran fondos, International Maratona dles Dolomites Gran Fondo, on 4 July. In 2020 he won GFNY Alpes Vaujany in France.
After winning Gran Fondo Gavia and Mortirolo Pasani commented to CicloTourismo, “I had started preparing to get fit in the first seasonal appointments, then there was the stop that ruined my plans and now after a period of inactivity I am back to enjoying an excellent state of form. Today I stretched at the foot of the Mortirolo and managed to conquer this prestigious goal. I can’t hide the fact that I would like to do well at the Maratona dles Dolomites next Sunday. In the meantime, let’s enjoy this prestigious success.”
EPO is often prescribed for people with long-term kidney disease and anemia, but is also a performance enhancing drug used by endurance athletes. It is a peptide hormone that significantly increases red blood cell production, improves the amount of oxygen that the blood can carry to the body’s muscles and raises VO2 max.
The world’s most famous EPO user is disgraced professional cyclist Lance Armstrong who used the drug to help him illegitimately win seven consecutive editions of the Tour de France.